A Prominent Theologian’s Risky Rationale

Our friend Jerry over at On the Fence Voters offers an enlightening view of how the evangelicals have been able to set aside their own values and morals to support a ‘man’ who has none. Thank you, Jerry, for this excellent viewpoint!

On The Fence Voters

Anyone who attended any conservative Bible college or seminary during the last few decades—as I did—is almost certain to recognize the name Wayne Grudem. Grudem’s 1,264-page digest on systematic theology—given the apt but boring titleSystematic Theology—is required reading on many if not most conservative Christian campuses.

Policies Over Principles

Though unfamiliar to most rank-and-file evangelicals, among evangelical scholars Grudem is one of the most-respected evangelical leaders in the country today. He also happens to be an unapologetic Trump supporter. Last month, the website Townhall publisheda letter Grudem wroteto a Trump-opposing evangelical friend (yes, there are a few of us).

Grudem’s letter is far too long to reproduce here. The main point—not surprisingly—is that while Trump is a less-than-admirable person, his policies are largely in line with evangelical Christian doctrine—as Grudem defines such doctrine. So, as most evangelicals now concede, favorable policies trump character issues.Character mattered…

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♫ Eve of Destruction – Over and Over and Over Again My Friend ♫

Just like John Lennon’s Imagine that I played for the umpteenth time earlier this week, this song is timeless.  It was appropriate when it was first released in 1965, and it is apropos of the situation over the past two days.  This was the only song I could think of to play tonight.  Sigh.


Released in 1965, this song was an anti-government protest against racism, hypocrisy and injustice at a volatile time in American history.  Sound familiar?  I’m really surprised that this song hasn’t made a huge comeback in the past year or so, for it is every bit as apropos today as it was 50+ years ago.  In some ways, the issues today are different, but in other ways … not so much.  Today, instead of Vietnam we have climate change and a clown in the Oval Office, Brexit and election manipulation.  Racism is still alive and well, but today we have no Martin Luther King.  Hypocrisy?  Oh yeah, in spades, my friends.  And Injustice is the name of the game here and around the world.  I could name 100 reasons that this song is as relevant today as it was then. Different faces, same ol’ song. 😢

Eve of Destruction
Barry McGuire

The eastern world, it is explodin’,
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’,
I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’,
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,
And marches alone can’t bring integration,
When human respect is disintegratin’,
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
But when your return, it’s the same old place,
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Songwriters: P. F. Sloan
Eve of Destruction lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

♫ Eve of Destruction – Still Apropos ♫

I had a really nice song … a happy song … ready for tonight, but the events of the day sent me plummeting into a deep, dark place, and this song seemed more appropriate tonight.  I know that I have played it a few times before, and … unless I miss my guess … I will play it a few times in the future.  It is a song that, unfortunately, never seems to become irrelevant.


Released in 1965, this song was an anti-government protest against racism, hypocrisy and injustice at a volatile time in American history.  Sound familiar?  I’m really surprised that this song hasn’t made a huge comeback in the past year or so, for it is every bit as apropos today as it was 50+ years ago.  In some ways, the issues today are different, but in other ways … not so much.  Today, instead of Vietnam we have climate change and a clown in the Oval Office, Brexit and election manipulation.  Racism is still alive and well, but today we have no Martin Luther King.  Hypocrisy?  Oh yeah, in spades, my friends.  And Injustice is the name of the game here and around the world.  I could name 100 reasons that this song is as relevant today as it was then. Different faces, same ol’ song. 😢

Eve of Destruction
Barry McGuire

The eastern world, it is explodin’,
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’,
I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’,
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,
And marches alone can’t bring integration,
When human respect is disintegratin’,
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
But when your return, it’s the same old place,
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Songwriters: P. F. Sloan
Eve of Destruction lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

♫ Eve of Destruction – Redux Again ♫

I give no reason for playing this song again … for the fourth time … tonight.  If you don’t know the reasons, then … go on back to sleep.


Released in 1965, this song was an anti-government protest against racism, hypocrisy and injustice at a volatile time in American history.  Sound familiar?  I’m really surprised that this song hasn’t made a huge comeback in the past year or so, for it is every bit as apropos today as it was 50+ years ago.  In some ways, the issues today are different, but in other ways … not so much.  Today, instead of Vietnam we have climate change and a clown in the Oval Office, Brexit and election manipulation.  Racism is still alive and well, but today we have no Martin Luther King.  Hypocrisy?  Oh yeah, in spades, my friends.  And Injustice is the name of the game here and around the world.  I could name 100 reasons that this song is as relevant today as it was then. Different faces, same ol’ song. 😢

Eve of Destruction
Barry McGuire

The eastern world, it is explodin’,
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’,
I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’,
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,
And marches alone can’t bring integration,
When human respect is disintegratin’,
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
But when your return, it’s the same old place,
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Songwriters: P. F. Sloan
Eve of Destruction lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

♫ Eve of Destruction ♫

Tonight, as I write, this nation is no longer a democracy, no longer the nation it once was.  I am filled with angst, as I know many of you are.  This song that I have already played back a few months ago, speaks for me.

Released in 1965, this song was an anti-government protest against racism, hypocrisy and injustice at a volatile time in American history.  Sound familiar?  I’m really surprised that this song hasn’t made a huge comeback in the past year or so, for it is every bit as apropos today as it was 50+ years ago.  In some ways, the issues today are different, but in other ways … not so much.  Today, instead of Vietnam we have climate change and a clown in the Oval Office, Brexit and election manipulation.  Racism is still alive and well, but today we have no Martin Luther King.  Hypocrisy?  Oh yeah, in spades, my friends.  And Injustice is the name of the game here and around the world.  I could name 100 reasons that this song is as relevant today as it was then. Different faces, same ol’ song. 😢

Eve of Destruction
Barry McGuire

The eastern world, it is explodin’,
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’,
I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’,
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,
And marches alone can’t bring integration,
When human respect is disintegratin’,
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
But when your return, it’s the same old place,
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Songwriters: P. F. Sloan
Eve of Destruction lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

♫ Eve of Destruction ♫

I’ve played a lot of great music the last few weeks … a lot of Motown and the sort of music that makes you tap your toes and just feel good.  Tonight I must veer for just a bit …

Released in 1965, this song was an anti-government protest against racism, hypocrisy and injustice at a volatile time in American history.  Sound familiar?  I’m really surprised that this song hasn’t made a huge comeback in the past year or so, for it is every bit as apropos today as it was 50+ years ago.  In some ways, the issues today are different, but in other ways … not so much.  Today, instead of Vietnam we have climate change and a clown in the Oval Office, Brexit and election manipulation.  But racism is still alive and well, but today we have no Martin Luther King.  Hypocrisy?  Oh yeah, in spades, my friend.  And Injustice is the name of the game here and around the world.  I could name 100 reasons that this song is as relevant today as it was then. Different faces, same ol’ song.

Eve of Destruction
Barry McGuire

The eastern world, it is explodin’,
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’,
I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’,
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,
And marches alone can’t bring integration,
When human respect is disintegratin’,
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
But when your return, it’s the same old place,
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Songwriters: P. F. Sloan
Eve of Destruction lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

On Being Found Wanting

Today, our friend Roger wrote a post that I have to share with you all. In the politically divided world we find ourselves in today, it is altogether too easy to wake up one morning and find that ‘we’ have become ‘they’, that our own voices are just as toxic as those with whom we disagree. Several times in the past year I have written a post, then scrapped it after a 2nd reading, realizing that it was more vitriolic than informative. Roger’s post speaks of his own struggles to remain above the fray, and his words, spoken from his heart, have value for us all. Many thanks, Roger, for sharing your thoughts and for your kind permission to re-blog.

Oxymoron Unlimited

The White House announced this week’s ‘theme’ will be “Made in America” week.  Now, I was not aware that there were ‘theme weeks’, but apparently, unbeknownst to me, they have been going on for a while.  Apparently there was an “Infrastructure Week” that collided with former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee about his abrupt firing.  And then there was “Jobs Week” that was interrupted by a shooting at a congressional baseball practice, a day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before the Senate. My personal opinion here is that these are reminiscent of things a kindergarten teacher might think of to keep his/her young charges interested and occupied, but I suspect the reality is that it is an attempt to keep We The People distracted from the more relevant, important issues.

Hypocrisy:

According to White House director of media affairs, Helen Ferre, “This week the Trump administration will honor the amazing American workers and companies who have products that are made in America.” She said America sets “the world standard for quality and craftsmanship.”  Certainly the “Trump administration” will NOT be honouring any of Trump’s companies, nor his daughters!

How seriously can we take a man who says, “America First”, who demands companies stop outsourcing production of their products outside the country, when nearly all his own products are manufactured outside the U.S.?  Let us take a quick look at where Trump & Co.’s products originate:

  • Shirts – China, Bangladesh, Honduras and Vietnam
  • Sport coats – India and South Korea
  • Suits – Indonesia and Mexico
  • Eyeglasses – China
  • Furniture – Germany and Turkey
  • Home goods – China, India and Slovenia
  • Hotel items – China, Taiwan, South Korea

Remember when you were a kid and your parent used to say, “don’t do as I do, do as I say”?  ‘Nuff said.

But that isn’t all … daughter Ivanka Trump’s company produces almost all its clothing, shoes, handbags and more in Malta, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea and Yemen.

It rather makes a mockery of Trump’s inaugural speech …

“We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs. We will follow two simple rules — buy American and hire American.”

And while Ivanka Trump published a book this spring declaring that improving the lives of working women is “my life’s mission,” her company actually does less than most to ensure fair treatment of the largely female workforce employed in factories around the world.

Products manufactured in the countries mentioned above are often produced in sweatshops, where poor working conditions, unfair wages, unreasonable hours, child labour, and a lack of benefits for workers is the norm.  This is why companies like the Trumps’ outsource overseas … labour costs are dramatically reduced. While Donald and Ivanka are contributing to this travesty, he is talking out of the other side of his mouth about “bringing jobs back to America”.

Distraction:

This whole ‘weekly theme’ idea is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard.  Educators may use weekly themes, food companies may use weekly themes, but governments do not use weekly themes.  So why?  No other reason that I can see than to keep our eyes off of the ever-expanding ties between the Trump family & advisors to the Russian government.  To keep us from wondering just exactly how much collusion took place between Trump & Co. and Vladimir Putin.  To keep us from wondering just who else is involved and in what capacity.  To keep us from focusing too much on the abominable “health care” bill that is currently awaiting a vote in the Senate.  To keep us from thinking about how much of our money Trump is wasting with his every-weekend golf outings.  To keep us from focusing on how his executive orders are leading to the destruction of the planet earth.

Obviously, since I, who am a major news junkie, did not realize we were playing “theme of the week”, his attempts to distract have not been very successful.  Perhaps that is the reason this week’s theme has been hyped to the max.  Keep your eye on the ball, folks.  Focus on the real issues, not the hypocrisy that is being spouted and spewed by the administration.  Not the silly little games like ‘theme week’.

Note to readers:  When asked about Trump products made overseas, Sean Spicer declared the question “out of bounds”.

The Scarlet “I”

The year is 2017.  Remember this, as it is important.

Maddi Runkles is a senior this year at a small school in western Maryland.  She has maintained a 4.0 grade point average, played on the soccer team, and was the president of the student council.  She has never been a disciplinary problem.  But Maddi will not be allowed to graduate with her class this month.  Why?  Because, according to school principal David R. Hobbs, Maddi was ‘immoral’.  Maddi, you see, is pregnant.

hester-prynneMaddi attends Heritage Academy in Hagerstown, Maryland, a small Christian school.  When Maddi told the school of her pregnancy in February, they immediately stripped her of her position as student council president and suspended her.  Her father was a member of the Heritage board until his disgust with the treatment of his daughter led to his resignation. He appealed the suspension and Maddi was allowed to return to classes, but not to graduate with her class.  Because she was immoral.  Shades of Hester Prynne …

chillingworthIn a May 22 “Statement from Principal Hobbs” posted on the front page of Heritage Academy’s website, David Hobbs wrote “Let me clarify some facts. Maddi is being disciplined, not because she’s pregnant, but because she was immoral. … A wise man told me that discipline is not the absence of love, but the application of love. We love Maddi Runkles. The best way to love her right now is to hold her accountable for her immorality that began this situation.” Shades of Roger Chillingworth …

According to a statement by Maddi, “We sign a student code at the beginning of each school year that we’ll refrain from drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and pre-marital sex, stuff like that. And other kids at my school have been caught drunk, defacing public property, and other things like that, but they’ve never suffered a punishment as severe as mine…. I decided I wanted to confess what I did and ask for forgiveness from my school, but the other kids who had broken other rules – even when they were caught – they still lied about what they had done. It just seems unfair. I tried to make it right, but was still shot down.”

Maddi-famMaddi says she considered abortion at one point, but her moral opposition to abortion led to her decision to keep the baby. For the past year and a half, the right-wing, evangelical Christians have been protesting loudly against abortion, decrying a worship of the ‘right to life’.  And yet, this so-called ‘Christian’ school condemns this young woman who is guilty of no crime.  She engaged in sex at least once.  Frankly, Roger Chillingworth … er, excuse me, David Hobbs … she did nothing that 95% of your student body over the age of 15 has not done.  And let me ask you, Mr. Hobbs … what if a male student engages in sex … will you ridicule and punish him?

Is it 2017?  Or is it 1642, the year in which Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an affair, is imprisoned and forced to wear a scarlet “A” on her clothing to remind the world that she is an adulteress?

Maddi Runkles has worked hard … you do not achieve a perfect 4.0 by slacking.  In all my years of college, I never went above a 3.82. We are no longer such a backward society that we believe sex should take place only after marriage vows have been spoken.  The far-right Christian evangelicals cannot have their cake and eat it too.  They cannot abandon Roe v Wade, de-fund Planned Parenthood, claim that abortion is a crime, but then fail to support the young women who get pregnant without being married.  The evangelical Christians who voted for Trump on the single issue of abortion should be incensed by young Maddi’s story, should be storming the Heritage Academy with angry protests against the shoddy treatment she has received.  But the masses are silent.  Just as Hester Prynne wore the scarlet A, so will Maddi Runkles wear the scarlet I for immoral, and the world will remain silent.

scarlet letter